This last weekend we hosted our first ever Fortifest!
This was our favourite event so far and possibly our most successful.
We have run a few in house members throw-downs and will continue to do so in the future (keep your eyes peeled Fortituders for our halloween and easter specials).
We simply put on these events to create more opportunities for our guys to challenge themselves and get together for a tonne of fitness and fun!
Something we have always done in all of our previous events was mix everyone into random pairs.
We then conduct a live draw and simply pull names at random out of hats to decide our teams or pairings.
We do this for a few reasons; mainly to remove any elitism, we believe everyone can and should participate in these kind of events and they shouldn’t be exclusive for the fittest athletes (they have plenty of comps etc they can pursue and enter).
Another reason behind this is to bring our community together. We have members who train in the morning only, in the evening only or only follow one of our programs, therefore providing an opportunity for them to connect and meet each-other is great and brings our community closer together.
Fortifest was our first event open to individuals from other gyms.
We wanted to create an amazing experience, introduce new people to this kind of event and bring the wider fitness community together!
We also decided to change our usual format of mixed pairs and trial mixed teams of 4, 2 males and 2 females per team.
We sent messages out to a few of our friends that we have met from other gyms in the Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud area.
Initially we were unsure if there would be much interest in this format of competition from other gyms as they wouldn’t be able to stick together. They too would be placed with people they had potentially never met (which we think is a really cool way to get to know each other).
Our unique idea was well received and we were fortunate to have individuals from Crossfit 21 Union, Crossfit BDF, Crossfit Cheltenham, Bullpen fitness and Crossfit Akela come down to have some fun with us.
They were all awesome!
As expected a lot of people were very nervous as they came down on the day, apprehensive of what lay ahead and how the random team format would work, it turns out a lot of guys were paired with people they hadn’t ever met.
Even we were a little anxious as we wanted everything to be absolutely perfect and to create an amazing experience for everyone!
The workouts were carefully programmed for the day, we avoided any barbell movements and advanced gymnastic movements. We wanted to create something that was suitable for all abilities, especially those relatively new to this event. The last thing we wanted was for someone new to feel inadequate, incpaable and holding back their team.
We also wanted to ensure those more experienced were also challenged and left feeling as though they had, had a great day of working out.
The 4 events we picked we felt had a great mix of variety and allowed the teams to share work accordingly, while allowing those with more experience to work at an appropriate intensity.
We will continue to think very carefully into our programming for our future events to ensure we maintain this. We are determined for Fortifest to be more than just another Crossfit Throw-down event and to be inclusive to everyone.
As we have mentioned previously this isn’t an event for ‘serious athletes’.
At the end of 4 testing workouts we had a very close finish, the top 8 teams infact were super close!
But we had 3 very deserved teams end up on the podium!
All in all we feel the day was a success!
We had an absolute blast putting on the event from start to finish and loved meeting new people and introducing them to our community.
The feedback we have had so far has been excellent and we are already thinking up ideas on how we can improve next year! (Suggestions always welcomed)
We were apprehensive of the random groupings of individuals, especially with members of other gyms coming down but it seemed to be really well received and a really powerful way to bring everyone together.
It was so nice for us as organisers seeing everyone mix together as the day went on.
I (Josh) personally owe huge thank-yous to the following people!
Rhianon Halford – for her help organising and all her hard work throughout the day and prior to the event!
All Judges and volunteers – Jess, Alice, Alistair, Sammy R, Emma and Isaac, Rachel and Tyrell, we simply couldn’t do it without you guys!
Guano Crazy Printing for his design work and fast turnover of our event tees
Rocket Pwr apparel for coming down in force, setting up a stall to kit out our athletes and donating podium prizes!
Back on the bar for their kind donation of vouchers and winners tops!
DJ Ben A for supplying great tunes all day!
To Tom, Lucy, Jen and Amber for supplying tasty food and cakes!
Cannonball coffee for supplying everyones caffeine needs!
Finally a huge thanks to Fiona Cole for all of these amazing photos! She is so so talented and all photos can be found here
I am sure there are many others i have missed off!
Finally a huge thank-you to each and every one of you who came to spectate, participate and generally make it one enjoyable and proud day for myself!
Next Years Fortifest will be hosted on the 12th of September 2020 and we have Early Bird entries open now, we can’t wait to see you all again!
See you next year Fortifest, bigger and better!